As widely reported in mainstream media, at least ten people have died and a further two are reported missing and feared deceased following a major serac collapse from the top of the Marmolada glacier in the Italian Dolomites last Sunday 3 July. Temperatures near the summit had reached a record 10°C in the afternoon of the collapse.
I reviewed my pictures of the Marmolada from 2008 to 2015. From a good covering of snow, to mostly ice but harmless, to the crevasses opening up. I looked at that FB video linked in your article and was shocked at how much it’s changed / lost volume even since 2015, the last time I descended from summit via the glacier. Even then it was much warmer than previous years and the glacier snow soft when descending.
I also found that you can clearly see the bit that collapsed on some of photos I took in 2008 and 2011. Even then it seems the ice that broke away had a distinct boundary with the surrounding glacier. But there was much more ice and snow surrounding it.
I climbed Via dei Finanzieri in 2002. Its upper section finishes up the piece of glacier that collapsed (not my photos): http://www.alpinistidellambrusco.org/2009/07/marmolada-via-dei-finanzieri.html these guys did it in 2009. The article is dated July. Their first photo shows the line of the route. Shocking the difference then and now.
Shocking also to think that I, like these guys, climbed it because it was known to be a great training route - a good, safe line for learning the rudiments of ascending glacier ice...
"Since the first ascent of the Marmolada almost 140 years ago, there has never been such a great tragedy on this mountain."
Can you maybe edit this line - it's rather insensitive in its wording maybe it was taken out of context here. But given that thousands of troops were stationed here during the war and fought and died in pitched battles inside the glacier, not to mention those who perished due to environmental conditions etc, or the thousands who died in an avalanche in a camp in Malga Ciapela beneath the mountain. I am 100% sure that Mr Stufflesser was no thinking about it in this context, but even so, a huge number have died on that mountain during the last 150 years...
How deeply saddening this event is. I feel for all those who have lost loved ones - I'm sure there are many people who are shocked and broken.
And how perturbing for a mountaineering community that must contend with the likelihood that similar events will occur again in the next years.
> And how perturbing for a mountaineering community that must contend with the likelihood that similar events will occur again in the next years.
This is the key learning point for me - it was something that had 'never' happened before. Lots of mountain communities must be getting twitchy about hanging glaciers and other areas held together by ice which they perceived to be 'solid'.
They are on the external drive attached to PC. I’m quite busy for next week and won’t be on PC. But the post below yours shows the bit that went and their route finished up.
If I remember from 25th onwards I’ll load up images from 2008 to 2015 to show how the glacier was changing.